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DARKO: MQA: a non-hostile takeover?


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Why not (a) publish the entire MQA specifications under open source license; (b) give everyone and anyone royalty-free IP access; © contribute an open source reference implementation for the hardwares and softwares (e.g. Apache license).

 

This is just the start if the MQA people are genuinely interested in improving the listening experience of the ordinary consumers. Its also a nice way to get the entire industry to move/change, IMHO.

 

Otherwise, it sounds like vendor lock-in and walled garden, as Darko/Alex pointed out.

Let every eye ear negotiate for itself and trust no agent. (Shakespeare)

The things that we love tell us what we are. (Aquinas)

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Why not (a) publish the entire MQA specifications under open source license; (b) give everyone and anyone royalty-free IP access; © contribute an open source reference implementation for the hardwares and softwares (e.g. Apache license).

Would you like to work for free?

 

People need to be compensated, in many cases, for their work.

Founder of Audiophile Style

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My strongest takeaway from the article was the comment from Mr. Stuart claiming they never allow for direct A-B comparisions in their demostrations. Saying something to the effect of "three audiophile will have nine opinions". The arrogance of this position is astounding. This is consistent with my recent experience at the Vancouver Audio show where they wouldn't play any tracks for comparison. Odd.

Are we supposed to embrace this technology based solely on the effusive praise of the Audiostream guy, R. Harley and JA?

They are running this campaign as effectively as D. Trump is running his.

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Would you like to work for free?

 

People need to be compensated, in many cases, for their work.

 

Open source does not necessarily mean free work :-)

 

It could be part of a smart strategy on the part of MQA folks.

Let every eye ear negotiate for itself and trust no agent. (Shakespeare)

The things that we love tell us what we are. (Aquinas)

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My strongest takeaway from the article was the comment from Mr. Stuart claiming they never allow for direct A-B comparisions in their demostrations. Saying something to the effect of "three audiophile will have nine opinions". The arrogance of this position is astounding. This is consistent with my recent experience at the Vancouver Audio show where they wouldn't play any tracks for comparison. Odd.

Are we supposed to embrace this technology based solely on the effusive praise of the Audiostream guy, R. Harley and JA?

They are running this campaign as effectively as D. Trump is running his.

 

I totally agree - what an absurd way to avoid comparison. I went to Axpona 2015 when they had several seminars on MQA content was supposed to be released that summer on Tidal, I went to Axpona 2016 same story probably this summer on Tidal still waiting. Even when it does release it will be like its mentioned above probably some obscure material that I'm not interesting in listening too. Maybe in 5 years its will be something to talk about but right now its just frustrating - no content, no streaming service, few hardware pieces. I know the argument will be its early but this is getting old.

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Would you like to work for free?

 

People need to be compensated, in many cases, for their work.

 

MPEG-4 etc are completely open standard ratified by international standardization body (ISO/IEC), you can get full specifications and reference implementation and make an independent implementation. They get compensated by royalties for the patent licenses collected by MPEG LA. Licenses are offered under fair and non-discriminatory terms.

 

However, MQA has chosen different route. All your MQA encoded content is kept hostage under DRM-like scheme where only approved devices can encode or decode it. Much like SACD, HD-DVD, Blu-ray etc.

 

Especially the encoding side is very controlled, you cannot buy encoder and encode test signals for example. All encoding is handled by separate approved "encoding houses".

 

I was hit enough by DVD-A (you remember MLP codec from the same source as MQA?) and HD-DVD fiasco, as I still have discs, but I am not able to play or rip those. Same is going to eventually happen to SACD, there are only few very technical hacks to rip DSD out of SACD. Otherwise you are doomed to quality-degraded version.

 

Another down side is that MQA played without decoder is technically worse than RedBook. Also the decoded hires version is lossy compared to the original.

 

So what guarantees do you have that your MQA hires content is decodable also after 20 years with the playback equipment of that time? What if MQA company goes bankrupt?

 

 

So for paid-for multi-layer codec my vote would go for AAC SLS.

 

 

When it comes to bandwidth usage, standard FLAC can be packaged to same size or smaller stream with same or better quality than MQA.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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MPEG-4 etc are completely open standard ratified by international standardization body (ISO/IEC), you can get full specifications and reference implementation and make an independent implementation. They get compensated by royalties for the patent licenses collected by MPEG LA. Licenses are offered under fair and non-discriminatory terms.

 

However, MQA has chosen different route. All your MQA encoded content is kept hostage under DRM-like scheme where only approved devices can encode or decode it. Much like SACD, HD-DVD, Blu-ray etc.

 

Especially the encoding side is very controlled, you cannot buy encoder and encode test signals for example. All encoding is handled by separate approved "encoding houses".

 

I was hit enough by DVD-A (you remember MLP codec from the same source as MQA?) and HD-DVD fiasco, as I still have discs, but I am not able to play or rip those. Same is going to eventually happen to SACD, there are only few very technical hacks to rip DSD out of SACD. Otherwise you are doomed to quality-degraded version.

 

Another down side is that MQA played without decoder is technically worse than RedBook. Also the decoded hires version is lossy compared to the original.

 

So what guarantees do you have that your MQA hires content is decodable also after 20 years with the playback equipment of that time? What if MQA company goes bankrupt?

i totally understand what your saying. But, why don't you release your source code and filters to the open source community and just require a license for use?

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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But, why don't you release your source code and filters to the open source community and just require a license for use?

 

I do a lot of open source work and actually make my living doing it. And development of HQPlayer has been largely funded by me working on open source software.

 

Nothing in what I do makes content inaccessible with other players or technologies. Input to my player is completely standard and open and so is the output. There is nothing keeping your content a hostage. There is no content that requires HQPlayer for playing.

 

You can easily replace:

1) Player

2) DAC

3) Amps

4) Speakers

At most you lose price of that particular piece, but nothing outside of the piece. Content is different, it can be easily high value and hard to replace. You generally don't want to replace it, but you want to grow your collection instead of buying the same stuff over and over again.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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I do a lot of open source work and actually make my living doing it. And development of HQPlayer has been largely funded by me working on open source software.

 

Nothing in what I do makes content inaccessible with other players or technologies. Input to my player is completely standard and open and so is the output. There is nothing keeping your content a hostage. There is no content that requires HQPlayer for playing.

 

You can easily replace:

1) Player

2) DAC

3) Amps

4) Speakers

At most you lose price of that particular piece, but nothing outside of the piece. Content is different, it can be easily high value and hard to replace. You generally don't want to replace it, but you want to grow your collection instead of buying the same stuff over and over again.

I hear you, but that's not the issue I am talking about. People want MQA to open up its intellectual property, yet those people who want them to do this, won't open up their own intellectual property.

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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I hear you, but that's not the issue I am talking about. People want MQA to open up its intellectual property, yet those people who want them to do this, won't open up their own intellectual property.

 

From user's perspective what matters is what is the loss if some technology is discontinued for whatever reason. So everyone has to calculate their risk in investing on some technology.

 

AFAIK, they have patents on it, so they could sell IP licenses just like the many other codec vendors. I don't have any patents on my stuff and not planning to have any either. I don't have time or money to play with such.

 

Personally, I wouldn't use MQA even if it was free and open source. It is not technically something I'd want. So I don't care about open sourcing either. I was more talking about standardization and having multiple vendors for implementation for continuity.

 

I just wanted to point out that there are future-proof competing technologies available for free and for fee. I think MQA would be more credible if they would drive standardization through ISO/IEC, like Fraunhofer did for MP3, etc.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Personally, I wouldn't use MQA even if it was free and open source. It is not technically something I'd want.

 

I just wanted to point out that there are future-proof competing technologies available for free and for fee.

 

+1, same for me.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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From user's perspective what matters is what is the loss if some technology is discontinued for whatever reason. So everyone has to calculate their risk in investing on some technology.

 

AFAIK, they have patents on it, so they could sell IP licenses just like the many other codec vendors. I don't have any patents on my stuff and not planning to have any either. I don't have time or money to play with such.

 

Personally, I wouldn't use MQA even if it was free and open source. It is not technically something I'd want. So I don't care about open sourcing either. I was more talking about standardization and having multiple vendors for implementation for continuity.

 

I just wanted to point out that there are future-proof competing technologies available for free and for fee. I think MQA would be more credible if they would drive standardization through ISO/IEC, like Fraunhofer did for MP3, etc.

 

MQA's ambitions are far greater than that of a supplier of a music file player as their end game, if successful, would be to re-write the musical history of the world through an MQA lense. This is a significant and sizable ambition that begs that MQA be far more forthcoming and be willing to readily demonstrate, by direct comparision, music files encoded with MQA and its non-MQA equivalent.

The fact that they won't will stall any further acceptance. We are given far too many long winded technical treatise but no music...why is that?

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MQA's ambitions are far greater than that of a supplier of a music file player as their end game, if successful, would be to re-write the musical history of the world through an MQA lense. This is a significant and sizable ambition that begs that MQA be far more forthcoming and be willing to readily demonstrate by direct comparision music files encoded with MQA and its non-MQA equivalent.

The fact that they won't will stall any further acceptance. We are given far too many long winded technical treatise but no music...why is that?

 

Maybe let us say that on a scale of digital quality from 0 to 10 MQA is a 14. Meridians ability to market these ideas is about .0000014 on that same scale.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Remember that MQA is a separate company from Meridian :~)

Yes I know. Part of the marketing savvy.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Computer Audiophile mobile app

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I hear you, but that's not the issue I am talking about. People want MQA to open up its intellectual property, yet those people who want them to do this, won't open up their own intellectual property.

 

 

Apples and oranges are both fruit.

From a consumer point of view, your point is moot. There are other players I can use instead of Miska's. Or I can write my own. I can't do the same with MQA.

"People hear what they see." - Doris Day

The forum would be a much better place if everyone were less convinced of how right they were.

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I hear you, but that's not the issue I am talking about. People want MQA to open up its intellectual property, yet those people who want them to do this, won't open up their own intellectual property.

 

Can you expand on your thinking there a little bit? If one licenses the MQA technology, one is not usually required to open up their own, often proprietary technology in return. That, in a nutshell, is what often stops some companies from incorporating some "open source" technology into their own deliveries.

 

On the other hand, I am still unclear if what MQA has done is actually new tech, or if it is a clever repackaging of existing tech.

 

In either case, it seems inescapable that to benefit fully from MQA, new audio files, new players, and at least new DACs will be required. Possibly with an internet connection to verify licenses.

 

And we the consumer will have to pay extra for those new files, the new player, and the new DAC, to cover the MQA license costs. No?

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Apples and oranges are both fruit.

From a consumer point of view, your point is moot. There are other players I can use instead of Miska's. Or I can write my own. I can't do the same with MQA.

 

This points to the essential failure of MQA to do anything but create dirision in the marketplace.

Chris, I suspect you may have been privileged to hear some content as has that guy from Audiostream, R. Harley and J.A. but we, the great unwashed, aren't offered that privilege. I have read that recording engineers have teared up when hearing their work run through the MQA but unless they grant us that same opportunity I am reminded of that great scene from Clockwork Orange when Alex pleads that they not do that to Ludwig.

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MQA has moved beyond vaporware, but I doubt I will buy any MQA downloads, I'm rediscovering vinyl. :-) If TIDAL ever starts streaming the majority of it's content in MQA I may take the plunge and try it out that way. I just don't see buying MQA downloads when the business proposition seems iffy and without any real comparisons demoed.

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The MQA people seem to be doing a great job alienating their potential customers. We are the ones that will (or won't) be buying their product. We are the consumers, aren't we? Yet they do nothing to try to get us on board. We have been told that we don't know what we are talking about when we question the technical aspects of MQA. I guess they think we are all ignorant and should just swallow their pill because they know what's best for us.

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Very interesting read. If Apple took their Mastered for Itunes process one step further and added Hi-Res music to iTunes and kept the wide compatibility the same as it is currently (iTunes files play on Android and Windows etc) would this leave MQA dead on arrival?

 

My understanding is that Apple has long had artists submit music in 24/96 for the Mastered For Itunes process so they might have had the biggest hi-res collections on the planet for many years now. I wouldn't be surprised if they figure out a way to package hi-res music in a way that makes it more stream and download friendly (file size).

 

Btw, I dropped Apple Music for Tidal and don't have an iPhone. So I'm definitely not an Apple fan boy but they've had long history in digital music delivery and I've bought many albums from iTunes for many years, before streaming and HD Tracks etc came along. So I can see how Apple could make MQA dead on arrival. And if it meant I didn't need to get all sorts of expensive new gear I'd jump on that.

 

Also, Apple is only one example. Spotify could do it working closely with the record labels to develop a smaller hi-res file format and still one that's open source. But Apple most likely has the hi-res library (through the Mastered for Itunes process).

 

The next 12 months will be interesting for hi-res streaming though, seeing who shakes it up or if it doesn't take off at all.

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